President Obama’s use of military force in Libya has come under intense criticism across the American political spectrum. There is widespread disagreement over what U.S. objectives should be, and many fault Obama for his initial hesitancy to act, his incoherence in defining our mission, and his ineptness in rallying domestic political support.
The best reason for using force is to secure the removal of Moammar Qaddafi. Even that objective has its complications, not least the question of what kind of regime will succeed him. But Qaddafi’s declared intention and demonstrated capacity to return to international terrorism, and the risk he would likewise resume his pursuit of nuclear weapons, fully justify removing him from the scene.